Longtime Malvernite Denis O’Brien, a man known for his charitable nature who wore many hats in the village, died of complications of a heart attack on Nov. 18. He was 57.
Prior to his family’s move to Malverne in 1981, O’Brien’s life of giving began in Brooklyn, at the Knights of Columbus, in 1978. “From my perspective, he gave more to others than he gave to himself,” said his brother, Kevin. “He had many tentacles out there through all the different societies and groups that he belonged to. That just shows his dedication to the community.”
O’Brien’s notable positions in the village included commissioner of the Malverne Traffic Commission, board member of the Civic Association, religious education coordinator at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and chairman of the Independent Party of Malverne.
“He was an angel that walked among us,” Kevin O’Brien said, “which is relevant to all the titles and positions that he’s held. He didn’t have much downtime because he was so committed to his organizations and his faith.”
“His endgame was, we want the best for Malverne,” said Stephen Canzoneri, former vice chairman of the Independent Party of Malverne. “He [was] very giving, very thoughtful and always thinking about others. That’s really Denis’s legacy.”
Canzoneri said that Malvernites have been saddened over the past seven years by the losses of Deputy Mayors Jim Calloway and Joe Hennessey, and former Independent Party chairman Steven McDonald.
“Denis really kept us going by keeping our eye on the endgame for our village,” Canzoneri said. “That’s what made him special.”
O’Brien, a senior vice president of the Lloyds Banking Group, was involved in many community activities, organizing Breakfast and Bowling with Santa at Grace Lutheran Church for nearly 10 years, and coordinating the village’s annual holiday lighting.
“He never thought twice about helping others, and that made him the epitome of Malverne,” Canzoneri said. “We just lost a huge chunk of our community, but his legacy will live on for many years.”
O’Brien is survived by three brothers, and five nieces and nephews.